Presentation on theme: "An Argument that Abortion is wrong Introduction to Moral Issues."— Presentation transcript:
An Argument that Abortion is wrong Introduction to Moral Issues
Do Fetuses Have the Right to Life? Don Marquis: Opponents of abortion, claim that all humans, whatever their race, gender, religion, or age, have the right to life, seem evident enough Because fetuses do not belong to another species,they are clearly human Therefore they have a right to life Pro Abortion: Because fetuses neither are rational nor possess the capacity to communicate in complex ways, nor possess a concept of self that continues through time, no fetus is a person
Biological explanation of a Human? The anti abortion argument is usually attacked by attacking its major premise: the claim that whatever is biologically human has a right to life. But Human Cancer cells are biologically human The connection between the biological and the moral is merely assumed. If one wishes to consider the category of “human” a moral category, as some people find it plausible to do in other contexts, then one is left with no way of showing that the fetus is full human without begging the question.
Pro-Choice attacked The pro choice argument can be attacked by attacking its major premise: Only persons have the right to life. This premise is subject to a scope of problems because the class of persons includes too little: Infants, the severely retarded, and some of the mentally ill seem to fall outside the class of persons as the supporter of choice understands the concept
Who is primarily wronged in a killing? The wrong of killing is not primarily explained in terms of the brutalization of the killer. The great wrong to the victim explains the brutalization, not the other way around. The wrongness of killing us is understood in terms of what killing does to us. Killing us imposes on us the misfortune of premature death. Premature death is a misfortune because when one is dead, one has been deprived of life.
Future like ours The loss of a future biological life does not explain the misfortune of death. The loss of our future conscious life is what underlies the misfortune of premature death. E.g. a terminally ill person with cancer The goods of life are what make life worth living The lists are usually different in different stages of our lives What makes killing someone wrong is that the deprives a person of a future like ours.
Arguments in favor of FLO The Considered Judgment Argument: The FLO account of the wrongness of killing is correct because it fits with our considered judgment concerning the nature of the misfortune of death, If one were to ask individuals with AIDS or with incurable cancer about the nature of their misfortune, I believe that they would say or imply that their impending loss of a FLO makes their premature death a misfortune.
Arguments in Favor of FLO The Worst of Crimes Argument: The FLO account of the wrongness of killing is correct because it explains why we believe that killing is one of the worst of crimes. My being killed deprives me of more than does my being robbed or beaten or harmed in some other way because my being killed deprives me of all of the value of the value of my future, not merely part of it. This explains why we make the penalty for murder greater than the penalty for other crimes The FLO account for killing explains both why killing is one of the worst of crimes, and, as a corollary, why exceptions to the wrongness of killing are so rare
Arguments in Favor of FLO The Appeal to Cases Argument: The FLO account of the wrongness of killing is correct because it yields the correct answers in many life-and death cases that arise in medicine that have interested philosophers Most people believe that it is not wrong to deliberately end the life of a person who is unconscious. Thus we believe it is wrong to remove a feeding tube or a ventilator of a permanently comatose patient, knowing such a removal will cause death. Death could not, ceteris paribus (all other things being equal) be a misfortune to someone on a ventilator with no good options.
Arguments in Favor of FLO The FLO theory of the wrongness of killing also deals correctly with issues that have concerned philosophers. It implies that it would be wrong to kill peaceful persons from outer space who visit our planet even though they are biologically utterly unlike us. Presumably, if they are persons, then they will have futures that are sufficiently like ours so that it would be wrong to kill them.
Arguments in favor of FLO Analogy with Animals argument: It would be as morally arbitrary to refuse to acknowledge that animal suffering is wrong as it would be to refuse to acknowledge that the suffering of persons of another race is wrong. Therefore, infliction of suffering is presumptively wrong no matter on whom it is inflicted, and whether it is inflicted on persons or non- persons Not only is this argument convincing on its own but it is the only way of justifying the wrongness of animal cruelty. (Peter Singer) The argument that abortion is wrong should be convincing because it has the same form as the argument for the claim that causing pain and suffering to non-human animals is wrong.
Objections to FLO arguments The potentiality objection: To claim that fetus has a FLO is to claim that a fetus now has the potential to be in a state of a certain kind of future In the FLO argument potentiality is not used in order to bridge the gap between adults and fetus The FLO theory of wrongness of killing adults is based upon the adult’s potential to have a future of value. Potentiality is in the argument from the very beginning. Accordingly the use of potentiality in the FLO theory is not a sign of an illegitimate inference.
Objections to FLO arguments The argument from Interests: non-sentient fetuses do not meet the minimum conditions for having any moral standing at all because they lack interests. Medical researchers have argued that fetuses do not become sentient until after 22 weeks of gestation But Temporarily unconscious human beings are non-sentient, yet no one believes that they lack either interests or moral standing. Accordingly, neither conscious awareness nor the capacity for conscious awareness is a necessary condition for having interests.
Objections to FLO arguments The Contraception Objection: If FLO is right, then contraception, and even abstinence is immoral. A defender of FLO could reply since at the time of contraception there is no individual to have a FLO the flow account does not entail that contraception is wrong. Are sperm and eggs individuals with a FLO? No. The biological fertilization process is too complex to make a determination of single agency. There seems to be no non-arbitrary determinate subject of harm in the case of successful contraception. If no determinate thing was harmed, then FLO can still stand
Conclusion Except in unusual circumstances, abortion is seriously wrong. Deprivation of a FLO explains why killing adults and children is wrong. Abortion deprives fetuses of FLOs. Therefore, abortion is wrong (except in rare cases).